CAVEMAN -- At AMC Carrollton, AMC Skyline, Hampton Mall, Laurel Drive-In, Roth's Parkway, Roth's Quince Orchard, Roth's Silver Spring East, Roth's Tysons Corner, Showcase Beacon Mall, Showcase Dale Cinema, Springfield Mall, Super Chief Drive-In, Tenley Circle
Replace the animation of "The Flintstones" with live (more or less) actors, reduce the script to a series of grunts, throw in a lot of sexism and scatology and you've got "Caveman," a comedy of the "Blazing Saddles" school of belch-and-giggle.
Ringo Starr, last seen dribbling double-entendres in "Sextette," stars as Atouk, a runty Cro-Magnon whose singular obsession is to steal the curvaceous Lana (Barbara Bach) from the slab of brisket she tends cave for.
Tonda, played by Oakland Raider John Matuszak, catches Atouk in a flagrant attempt at making "zug-zug" with Lana and unceremoniously throws him out of the tribe. But Atouk is not destined to slog through the muck of this plot alone: Out in the prehistoric wilds, he meets up with a dozen or so other missing links, who inexplicably join him in his campaign of lust. Armed with only a club and a 15-word vocabulary, this band of misfits battles dinosaur and famine alike so that Atouk can obtain the true object of his affection -- a rather drab dishwater blonde, as it turns out.
Throughout his heroic adventures, Starr wears a curiously doleful expression -- sort of like a stuffed panda that's been run through the washer. Although he made the most of his understated acting style in "Candy" and "The Magic Christian," the baby talk and sight gags with which he is provided here diminish his already limited repertoire. Somehow, going around pointing and saying "ca-ca" is not what one would have expected from a legendary Beatle.
Bach, on the other hand, seems up to this type of buffoonery. Throughout her house-keeping scences, her hips grind as though she has recently swallowed the business end of a weed-eater, and when she's not kicking our hero in the gullet, she's briskly setting femininity back another century or two, poking her torso in every available bearded face. There's a sort of mean-spirited bluster about her character that elicits relief rather than amusement when Atouk finally plops her in a mudhole. Undoubtedly, this role will do little to dispel the notion that Bach moves her lips reading elevator buttons.
As burlesque, "Caveman" lacks the good-natured yuks necessary to balance out the lechery. As straight comedy, it's far too salacious a movie to park the kids at on a Saturday afternoon. To sum it up in its own vernacular: fech!